Bug Fix Failure Alerts Using TFS 2012 Scrum Process Template

My team is using Microsoft TFS 2012 Team System Web Access with the Scrum 2.2 Process Template as our Scrum management tool. We treat bug work items similar to how we deal with PBI’s, in that we assign tasks to the bug to complete the work. Usually this results in only two tasks: One development task to fix the bug, and one testing task to verify the fix and look for any related regressions around that fix.

When the developer has completed the bug-fix task, they use the task board to move their task from the ‘In Progress’ column, to the ‘Done’ column. But what should happen when the tester determines that the bug isn’t fixed? Well, the tester moves the development task back to the ‘To Do’ column and puts a note in the history field detailing the reason why the task wasn’t done.

The problem we were having is that the developers wanted to know when their bug fixes were not complete. Usually they would find out the next morning during our daily Scrum meeting, but they wanted to know right away. I solved this problem by using the Alerts feature available in TFS 2012.

  1. From your Team System Web Access site, click the settings button (the gear icon in the top right of the page)
  2. Select the ‘Alerts’ tab
  3. In the left navigation, select the ‘Team Alerts’ section
  4. Select ‘Work Item Alerts’
  5. In the main body of the page, click on ‘New…’
  6. In the ‘SELECT NEW ALERT TEMPLATE’ window, select ‘A change is made to a work item that is assigned to me’ and click ‘OK’
  7. Give the alert a more descriptive name
  8. Add 3 new clauses: Work Item Type = Task, State Changed From Done, State Changed To To Do
  9. Click OK

You’re all set. Your developers will start receiving emails when their bug tasks are moved back to the ‘TO DO’ column.

Here’s a quick video that walks you through the above steps:
How to add a bug-fix alert in TFS

2012 Year In Review

2012 was a career year for me. For the past 8 years I’ve just had a job. I didn’t really enjoy what I was doing and didn’t put much thought into how I could or should develop my career. Things changed quickly early in the year as several opportunities came together. Here are a few of those highlights:

New Jobs
I found the best job I’ve ever had, working as the principle tester at a semiconductor manufacturer. Before I arrived, there was no formal testing in the IT department. I was tasked with introducing testing in one group and then over time, grow it throughout the organization. I’ve been able to test the new “Flagship” application which is a few weeks away from our first Release. So far we have received rave reviews on all aspects of the application and the development process.

I was able to expand my testing skills by learning the nuances of SPA (single page application) testing. This has been a fun and challenging experience, mostly because it isn’t done much yet so there few resources out there geared specifically toward SPA testing.

I was also able to dabble in automation testing for SPAs. Since this type of application is client-side heavy, the true value comes from exercising it through the browser. Many automation solutions and supporters prefer testing the code directly (via APIs or a test harnesses), bypassing the browser. That has made this learning process more of a struggle for me then I had expected.

If you follow my blog at all you’ll know I’m also a uTest fan boy and freelance tester. I’ve already wrote a blog post about my uTest experiences this year, so I’ll just give an updated summary:

  • Team Test Lead
  • Became a solid iOS tester
  • Worked with and learned from testers all over the world
  • 200 cycles/425 bugs
  • 94% bug approval rate/44% high-value rate
  • Gold Rated (99.75%)

Improved Online Presence
One of the most valuable and educational aspects of this year was my decision to join and contribute to the testing community. I started this blog to chronicle my career development. I only found the time for 11 posts but I was able to post regularly… well kind of.

I spent most of my time focused on the uTest community. I became a uMentor, a forum moderator and one of the most active forum members. My topics have generated hundreds of responses and over 20,000 views. I’m now seeing more and more new uTesters step up and contribute to the growth of the forum and the uTest community which is fantastic!

I was also featured on the uTest blog a few times:

I have learned so much from writing about testing, teaching new testers, and learning from others. I’d say that focusing on developing my online presence has had the largest impact in my growth as a professional tester.

Scrum Mastery
In addition to testing, I’m also extremely interested in software development processes and improving efficiency, specifically the Scrum development framework. Since I had a few years of Scrum experience, I volunteered to be a Scrum Master for the “flagship” product I mentioned above. As word of that project’s success got around, I became a champion for Scrum in our organization. I was able to coach POs, Developers, Customers, and Managers and am currently Scrum Mastering 2 projects. I was asked to give an “Introduction to Scrum” presentation to our department during one of our Lunch & Learn sessions and since then one group has started their own project using Scrum.

To complement and improve my real-world experiences, I attended a Scrum Master course and then passed both the Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org Scrum Master certifications.

So cheers 2012; you’ve been swell. I look forward to meeting you 2013. I know you have many fun and challenging experiences in store.